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Polavaram issue: BJD leaders stall Odisha assembly


Cong accuses ruling party of enacting drama to avoid discussion over farmer suicide issue

BHUBANESWAR: High drama erupted in Odisha assembly as the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislators stalled the House proceedings over the Polavaram project issue and later submitted a memorandum to Governor SC Jamir addressed to President of India on Friday.

The opposition criticised the ruling party members for creating drama to avoid discussion on the death of farmers in the state.

Soon after the house assembled to start proceedings of the day, BJD members marched into the well of the House shouting slogans against the centre. Unable to run the house, Speaker Niranjan Pujari adjourned it till 3 pm.BJD MLAs on Polavaram issue

The BJD MLAs along with ministers later took out a rally from the assembly to Raj Bhawan protesting the Polavaram project.

They alleged that the project would submerge several villages in Malkangiri district.

Submitting a memorandum to Governor, they sought the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee to stall the construction of Polavaram project.

Industry minister Debi Prasad Mishra the Governor has assured them to look into the demands and recommend accordingly to the President.

“We demand that the Polavaram project should be put on hold as a national project. The tendering process for the project should be postponed as it would submerge many villages in the state,” said Mishra.

Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi said the centre should not allow construction of the dam that would submerge villages in Motu area of Malkangiri district.

As per a state government estimate, the multi-purpose dam over river Godavari would inundate 7756 hectares of land in 15 revenue villages and ten hamlets of Motu block in Malkangiri district. With this, a total of 6818 people including 5916 tribals would be displaced.

Meanwhile, five Congress members have resigned from the House committee on Polavaram project issue stating that Naveen Patnaik government has betrayed the people of Odisha.

The opposition MLAs – Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Bhujbal Majhi, Kailash Chandra Kuleshika, Chandrasekhar Majhi and Krusnachandra Shagaria – met the Speaker and submitted their resignations.

The leader of opposition Narasingha Mishra said BJD is playing dirty politics on the Polavaram issue and creating drama to avoid discussion over farmer suicide issue.

The Congress party has moved a breach of privilege notice against Agriculture Minister for hiding facts about the death of farmers in the state.

Congress MLA Naba Das said the ruling party enacted a drama in the house to avoid a discussion on the farmer suicide issue.

Talking to media, Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati termed the Naveen Patnaik government as ‘Beiman’ (betrayer) for not taking opposition parties into confidence over the Polavaram issue.

Two BJP MLAs also decided to stay away from the meeting of the House committee formed to discuss Polavaram issue.

The house committee on Thursday decided to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Polavaram issue.